sábado, dezembro 30, 2006

Obituário…

de Saddam Hussein no The New York Times. Alguns excertos:
“In an authoritative account of Mr. Hussein’s government called “The Republic of Fear,” the self-exiled Iraqi architect Kenaan Makiya (writing under the pseudonym Samir al-Khalil) estimated that at least 500 people died in the purge that consolidated Mr. Hussein’s power.
Mr. Hussein’s titles reflected his status as an absolute ruler modeled after one of his heroes, Josef Stalin of the former Soviet Union. They included president of the republic, commander in chief of the armed forces, field marshal and prime minister. In addition, the state-owned news media referred to him repeatedly as the Struggler, the Standard Bearer, the Knight of the Arab Nation and the Sword of the Arabs.
Mr. Hussein saw his first opportunity for Iraq to dominate the region in the turmoil that swept neighboring Iran immediately after its 1979 Islamic revolution. In September 1980, Mr. Hussein believed that by invading Iran he could both seize a disputed waterway along the border and inspire Iranians of Arab origin to revolt against their Persian rulers. Instead, they resisted fanatically. Mr. Hussein never acknowledged making a gross miscalculation; rather, he vilified the Iranian Arabs as traitors to the Arab cause.
Iraq fared badly in the war, not least because Mr. Hussein interfered in the battle plans despite a complete lack of military training, even issuing orders based on dreams. When strategies urged by Mr. Hussein failed, he often accused the commanders of betrayal, cowardice and incompetence and had them executed.”
“Official corruption was unknown in Iraq in the 1980s, and religious worship somewhat free. Mr. Hussein occasionally took populist measures to underscore the importance of the public welfare. Once, for example, he decided that his ministers were too fat and he demanded that they diet, publishing their real weights and their target weights in the news media. Mr. Hussein’s own weight could fluctuate from chubby to relatively trim, although well tailored suits hid his paunch. Around six feet tall, he was stocky and wore a trademark moustache.
His wine of choice was Portuguese, Mateus Rosé, but he never drank in public to maintain the conceit that he was a strict Muslim. He even had genealogists draw a family tree that linked him to Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet Muhammad.”
“Evidence from inside Iraq after the invasion confirmed what United Nations weapons inspectors anticipated before — that Mr. Hussein abandoned the attempt to develop nuclear, biological and chemical weapons after his 1991 defeat. Orders from Mr. Hussein to destroy vestiges of the program, interpreted before the 2003 invasion as an attempt to hide their development, turned out to be an effort to comply with the ban.
The fatal controversy over whether Iraq was still developing unconventional weapons stemmed in part from Mr. Hussein’s desire to convince different audiences of different things, a postwar study by the Defense Department concluded. He wanted the West to believe that he had abandoned the program, which he had. Yet he also wanted to instill fear in enemies like Iran and Israel, plus maintain the esteem of Arabs, by claiming that he possessed the weapons.
“Mr. Hussein often tried to draw parallels between himself and the famous leaders of Mesopotamia, the earliest civilization in the region, as well as Saladin, the 12th-century Kurdish Muslim military commander who expelled the crusaders from Jerusalem.
What preoccupied him, he said, was what people would be thinking about him in 500 years. To the horror of historic preservationists, he had the ancient walls of the former capital, Babylon, completely reconstructed using tens of thousands of newly fired bricks. An archaeologist had shown him bricks stamped with the name of Nebuchadnezzar II in 605 B.C. After the reconstruction, the small Arabic script on thousands of bricks read in part, “In the reign of the victorious Saddam Hussein, the president of the Republic, may God keep him, the guardian of the great Iraq and the renovator of its renaissance and the builder of its great civilization, the rebuilding of the great city of Babylon was done.”

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